Manchester City v Tottenham: Digging out the City value

Manchester City are again hot favourites for a Premier League home game. Andy Schooler finds an odds-against angle for Saturday's clash with Spurs.

I think it's down to the fact that under Pep Guardiola they've rewritten the betting rules.

City so short again

Week after week they go off at a short price so rarely seen in the past, while that's replicated in the goal markets where such is the expectation for them to score bundles that they've essentially transformed the 2.5 line price into a 3.5 one.

Maybe I've struggled to adapt to the 'new normal' when it comes to City but there's still something off-putting seeing them priced up as 1.3 shots to win against a supposed fellow 'Big Six' side, as is the case here.

I can't say I blame those laying such odds. After all, City have won 12 of their last 13 in all competitions. Since October, they've lost only once - and that was a dead Champions League rubber.

They come into this game on the back of 4-0 and 5-0 wins over the past week - Tuesday's drubbing of Sporting in Lisbon has effectively put them into the Champions League quarter-finals with a game to spare.

They very much look football's 'well-oiled machine' right now and even when Guardiola rotates his players, it seems to make no difference.

Kyle Walker, suspended in midweek, should return here, while Jack Grealish and Gabriel Jesus may both recover from slight injuries to increase their manager's options.

Trouble at the Lane

Whoever starts will face a Spurs side on the slide.

The Londoners have lost three in a row in the Premier League with their home defeats to Southampton and Wolves over the past week or so bringing new levels of anger from fans, whose affection for Antonio Conte seems to be wearing off quickly.

Conte himself is hardly helping matters. In a pretty remarkable interview this week, he criticised the club's transfer window, suggesting he had been sold something different by the club when appointed in the autumn.

"Tottenham are seeking young players they can develop and grow, not players who are ready. That is the issue," he told Sky Sport Italia.

"I have realised now that this is the vision of the club."

Spurs were defensively poor in both of those home games - not something that bodes well for this trip, although at least Eric Dier may return to bolster that backline.

Hard to look past hosts

The visitors are at 12.5 to land the upset here but it's hard to make a case for them given the two sides' current form.

Yes, they did beat City 1-0 on the opening day but there were mitigating factors, including the fact that so many players had only just returned to club training following the summer international tournaments.

City's stuttering start certainly seems a long time ago now and Spurs' record at the Etihad isn't great - they've lost nine of their last 12 there.

Neither does their record against the top sides this season inspire confidence.

They've played the teams currently above them nine times so far, winning two and losing six.

Essentially, City should win but how do we get any value out of them?

Best City angle

Over 2.5 goals in the game is just 1.65 - add the City win and that becomes 2.2.

That's sure to prove popular given the number of goals they've scored of late.

However, Spurs seem highly likely to take on a defensive approach here and try to snuff City out as much as possible.

With Harry Kane up front, aided by the pace of Son Heung-min and (probably) Lucas Moura, they've got the ability to cause problems on the break - that's how they've troubled City in recent home games - so they may well be happy to try to soak up the inevitable pressure.

That makes me consider an 'unders' play - City to win and under 3.5 goals is also at 2.22.

For all the talk of City goal gluts, just 33% of their home matches have featured over 3.5 goals, while for Spurs away games, the equivalent figure is 30%.

For me, this looks a decent way of getting odds-against about the home win.

Mahrez, Laporte offer props options

Meanwhile, the props markets offer a few options for those putting a Bet Builder together.

The obvious issue is you never really know who Guardiola is going to rest but if he starts, Riyad Mahrez looks good for a goal.

He's netted in eight of his last nine games for City, as well as three of his last six league starts v Spurs. He's around 2.0 to score another in this game.

A bigger price of 4/1 is available about Aymeric Laporte (pictured) having 2+ shots - something the centre-back has managed in five of his last 11 appearances for City.

1280 Aymeric Laporte friendly.jpg

City have won more corners than anyone in the Premier League this season and if Spurs do try to dig in, they are likely to concede plenty of them.

That would give Laporte opportunities and he's regularly out-shot colleagues Ruben Dias, John Stones and Nathan Ake.

Admittedly Spurs haven't been the worst at defending set-plays but confidence is clearly low right now among their defenders and Laporte could capitalise.

Opta fact

Tottenham have lost each of their last three Premier League games, conceding more goals in these games (7) than they did in their first nine under Antonio Conte (6). Spurs haven't lost four in a row in the competition since a run of six between October and November 2004.

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